2015 Top 40 Cruise Events At Sea and Port

Cruise Bruise Investigates:  List of the top 40 cruise industry events both at sea and in port. We include cases that made cruise industry history in 2015 for typical or atypical reasons. These 40 cases paint a picture of odd things happening on cruises.

1. Bernardo Garcia Elbaz Filmed His Own Death Oasis of the Seas – November 6, 2015
His lawyer called it a protest, the story sounds more like a filmmaker publicity stunt gone wrong. With two cell phones filming the event from inside their cabin the stage for this even was set. A gay man sailing with his husband contends they were harassed by crew aboard the cruise ship for being gay and as a protest, the filmmaker jumped overboard. It’s not disputed he jumped over their balcony railing, but we think in his drunken state, he miscalculated the jump to land on a lifeboat, slipped on the wet boat and ending up hanging from it. His partner screamed for everyone to hear, “you murdered him, you murdered him”, at security officers who had arrived at their cabin. At that point, Elbaz was still clinging to the lifeboat with crew trying desperately to pull him back aboard the cruise ship.

2. Crew Member Killed Repairing Elevator
December 27, 2015, Crew member, Jose Sandoval Opazo, 66, an electrician working aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Ecstasy was killed while repairing an elevator. A cruise passenger couple passing the the elevator observed a stream of blood raining down the outside to the elevator door and filmed the elevator with blood streaming down the door and pooling on the carpeting.

3. Darla Banner Cruise Ship Murder Suicide
Darla J Mellinger Banner cruise ship murder suicide aboard Holland America Line Ryndam on April 2, 2015 was as shocking as it could get this year. The newlywed murder of Darla Mellinger Banner by her husband, will go down in cruise ship history as the worst, verified cruise ship spousal murder of a newlywed in cruise industry history. After a failed attempt at murdering Darla by stabbing her in the chest two months after they were married, John Banner left Darla in a bloodied cruise ship cabin after killing her. He then killed himself exactly six months after their wedding day.

4. Baby Doe Verdict
After waiting for four years for a verdict in the murder of Baby Doe, an Indiana judge sentenced Alicia Keir to one day in prison for giving birth to a full term baby aboard aboard Carnival Dream. Keir who was unmarried, gave birth to a live, breathing baby, stuffed it under her cabin bed and continue to party on the ship as if nothing had happened. Her cabin mates had no idea a dead baby was in the cabin with them, until a cabin attendant servicing the stateroom found the dead baby. There was no public outrage even after it was learned Keir had gotten pregnant again, using the second child as a reason she should avoid prison time for the murder of child’s older sibling.

5. $21.5 Million Verdict
The jury award to James Hausman of $21.5 million for walking into a door aboard Holland America Line Amsterdam, hit the outer limits of outrageous lawsuits. Just like #3, Hausman continue to party after an event at sea, only this case was for a “traumatic brain injury”. This case will go down in history as the longest time a cruise ship passenger partied on a cruise ship after an injury where he sued the cruise line. Hausman was on a 270 day cruise which embarked on September 26, 2011 and he ran into the door 60 days later on November 26, 2011. For the next 210 days, Hausman continued to party, which was documented by the cruise line crew both aboard the cruise ship and in ports around the world. With a mountain of evidence challenging the severity of Hausman’s alleged head injury, the jury awarded an outrageous $21.5 million. An appeal is pending.

See the other 35 events at sea